Sunday, September 17, 2006

The World Gets a Little Smaller

Yesterday was a milestone for us. We reached out to a world of our own.

There is a group in DC called Rainbow Families and Saturday afternoon was their annual picnic. About 150 gay families all got together for the afternoon and celebrated being families.

Like the straight world, there are so many different types of people; people can enjoy NASCAR, bird watching, theater, sports, bingo or gambling. You can watch Murder She Wrote, Grey’s Anatomy or Discovery Channel. So many different things for many different types of people.

We don’t know a lot of others in our situation. Most of our gay friends go to clubs, to Rehoboth or to the ballet. We can certainly enjoy some of those activities (well, not ballet) but it’s not really the core of who we are.

But yesterday we joined gay men who were looking for sippy cups, grabbing for diaper wipes and cutting grapes into quarters. We were with lesbians who were putting on bibs, fixing Elmo Band-Aids and wiping noses. Families like ours. Over fifty children who had either two dads or two moms.

Between chasing the kids on the playgrounds, introductions between the adults would occur and the story of how each came about being a father or mother would follow. The stories were varied and endless. Adoptions, surrogates, invitro; each person had a different beginning with the same ending.

There was a sense of community and validation we had not experienced in a long time. Here were people who didn’t care about clubs. They knew the words to Finding Nemo and had diaper bags. They were called “daddy, papa, papi or mama, mimi, and mommy.” They were like us.

The best benefit of all was that I finally got to meet Brian of Story of the Turtle. We’ve corresponded and commented on each other’s blogs for months and yesterday we met for the first time.

In cyberspace, a person becomes what you want them to be. You know their words and emotions, but you really don’t know the person. Meeting for the first time is always an interesting experience. My biggest worry always is, “Gosh, will I be as funny in person as I am online?” My guess is that I fail in that arena, but it really doesn’t matter. The cable modem seems to disappear as you begin to know someone outside of his or her blog.

So Brian and I met for the first time. We met each other’s partners and sons. And for those few moments we didn’t have to chase the boys, we actually got to chat as dads. Nice to finally meet another blog friend.

Three hours went fast but we never enjoyed ourselves more. We joined a group of people like us and we decided to do more things with them. For us. For our son.

Yesterday, all we really were a family.



Blogger Green Dads said...

This is exactly why we love going to Family Week and other similar activities.

And also why we're going on the cruise in February.

Steven, Brian and Darius

12:27 PM  
Blogger Lola and Ava said...

I can still remember telling the girls about Corey and the slightly puzzled looks on their faces. It was followed very quickly by the pre-teen, "Cool." Those years are creeping up on you . . . hold on the sippy cups as long as you can.

2:48 PM  
Blogger Rich | Championable said...

I always feel two ways when I read posts like this. On the one hand: it's a sweet post. On the other: it makes me sad.

You're point about the differences between gay parents, folks who "can enjoy NASCAR, bird watching, theater, sports, bingo or gambling," is what's wrong with the whole perceived separation between gay and straight.

I honestly don't see a core difference between us. Being gay is just one more sliver of human variety... not a whole separate category of person.

Until people see that, you're going to have to have separate (albeit fun) events... but I hope for the day when parents are parents are parents.

You know?

8:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I agree we should strive to become a society where parents are just parents, until that happens it is nice to know that “different” types of parents/families have a place to go and share similar experiences. If it takes a village to raise a child, then you are starting to find yours. It certainly sounds like a fun place to be a kid.

10:07 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

I am glad you found a group of people that are in a similar situation.
Common experience make for good conversation and lasting relationships.
I need a group made up of tutu selling, pest control technicians with three kids.

11:21 AM  
Blogger Steve S said...

Sounds like fun! We don't have anything like that around here, we would have to drive all the way up to SF.

3:06 PM  
Blogger The Brian said...

Glad you had fun! Hopefully we'll see you at more events now.

: )

1:53 PM  
Anonymous MetroDad said...

That sounds awesome, my friend! I'm glad you enjoyed the event and got to cross the 4th dimension with a blogger friend. By the way, I kind of echo the similar feeling as one of the commentors above. Though you may be gay, I'm sure I have a million more things in common with you than with anyone who enjoys Nascar! haha

9:56 PM  

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